Tel Aviv Diary - November 28 - December 2, 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - November 28-December 2, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 28, 2009

Ezi took Kutya to the SOS fair today and he was immediately snapped up by a new owner. He is such a wonderful, intelligent dog that I am sure he'll adapt everywhere. And for us the goat is out of the house. Now I feel we can cope with the tiny and various operations, projects, grandchildren, home repairs, etc. that only two weeks ago i thought was beyond our capabilities. And to accept the things that are out of our hands, like the lives and deaths of those we love. (See yesterday's entry)

Do I include politics in the category of what is out of our hands? No. I continue to believe that every effort must be made to influence local politicians as well as the world to keep alert.

November 29, 2009

Panic Ensemble performed last night to a packed hall in Levontin 7. If you weren't there you missed a thrilling evening. Even songs I've heard many times before, and have even performed with the group, were even more exciting than I've ever known them. There is something about their sense of play, even on tragic poems, that works.So sometimes they interpret my work in a contrary way, and the opposition opens up the poem. Sometimes they make me go crazy, as in the poem about Lot's Wife.


Look, look at the light
See the sky grow dark with the fire
Burning up, last night we were one
I want you to stay in my eyes

Oh the wildest nights
Holding the men
And women of Sodom
I want to love them all

Taste, drunk with the night,
Taste my blood grown thick with desire
Burning up, binded by love
I want them to stay in my arms

Oh the wildest nights
Holding the men
And women of Sodom
I want to love them all

Before us now - banal days
One life one love one lord
Empty land, no pleasure of love
I choose to bleach you from my heart

Oh the wildest nights
Holding the men
And women of Sodom
I am becoming salt.

Of course the text had to be altered to the music and pronunciation of Yael and Dirk, but the tragic music and tone, and the sense of ifcha mistabra, or taking the opposite side of the argument to see where it will go, remains.

The State of Israel was declared today, in Tel Aviv, because Jerusalem was under seige. I wasn't there, because my stateless parents had just taken us to America, having been expelled from England. Their previous attempts to make it to Palestine had led to their return to Danzig on the eve of the German invasion, and they weren't going to try again after world war 2, since the British had just thrown them out of England. Confused? So were they.

Two states were declared, by the way, but while the Jews rejoiced, the Arabs rejected the declaration.

November 30, 2009

The program for the kisufim conference 2009: The Jerusalem Conference of Jewish Writers and Poets is out. It looks good - a good week in Jerusalem.

December 1, 2009

Nothing like Tel Aviv in pleasant weather. The amount of ogling and conversation that takes place - even in a bourgeois shopping center like Ramat Aviv G - is surprising. I know - I am one of the oglers. Even in this heartland of middle class snobbism, I manage to meet old friends and the occasional kind stranger. In bad weather you meet only the people you arrange to meet, but on nice days everyone is outside.

It was a lab test that brought me to the shopping center, at 9:45. I was number 602. When I got to the reception window I asked, "Were there really 601 people before me today?" The receptionist answered "We always start with number one." And yet I was out by 10:15. And free to shop. The results came in at 3 in the afternoon on the internet. The doctor received me this evening, and I'm on my way to wellness.

December 2, 2009

Tonight I saw the worst and the best of Israel. The worst of it I saw on the news, and I don't have to repeat them to you. Suffice it to say, as the woman in the Yiddish lullaby sings to her little Yankele, "It will cost me and your father many tears before you become a mensch." But the best of Israel doesn't get seen so much, so I'm very happy to get a chance to point them out. First off, it was an evening for Eliya which is in English here. It is an association for preschool blind and visually impaired children and two of the 'graduates' performed - one, a seventeen year old singer, and the other a thirteen year old pianist. They were both impressive, the products of a great deal of personal care and direction. Their parents were even more impressive, in their quiet steadfastness. The organization - which now has three schools - is run by voluteer Michael Segal, who has quietly developed and expanded the institution for almost twenty years. He succeeded Haim Sanderson, the father of Danny Sanderson, who also contributed an extended appearance tonight, to the great joy of the audience. Danny Sanderson is not only one of the major contributors to Israeli music, but he is Ezi's absolute favorite. His first group Kaveret and the others that have followed, have had long lasting influences on poetry and music, and the audience - young and old - knew all the words.

Opening for them was a group called Tararam, full of energy and invention. Dance and drumming groups are really good here, for numerous reason i will go into soon.

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